A few weeks ago we annouced an adjustment to the release date for SQL2K8. Many blog postings made a big deal about this. There were several consipiracy theories floating around. I'm not really sure why.
If you spent more than a minute and thought about it the slippage isn't that big of a deal at all. SQL Server is a huge product. Anyone who has worked on a big product knows about the complexity of shipping it. The bottom line is we won't ship until we believe (until we know) the product is ready. People should focus on that positive.
Just think about the test passes we run. We support 10+ languages running on WinXP, Vista, Win2K3, Win2K8, running on x86, x64, and IA64 platforms. We support cluster and non-cluster. We support upgrade from SQL2K, SQL2K5, and earlier SQL2K8 CTPs. That's one heck of a test matrix.
We also have requirements about production deployments of pre-released builds (both internal and external to Microsoft). We have numerous teams that need to do test passes (Analysis Services, Reporting Services, Integration Services, Replication, Data Programmability and Protocols, Manageability, Database Engine, etc). Each team has to sign-off on the build.
Running a full tests pass consists of 100,000's of tests requiring 1,000's of machine hours. We have long haul stress tests which take weeks to run. Every test failure is investigated to determine if it's an environmental issue, test issue, or product issue. All of this is done to ensure we release the best possible product.
One of the sayings around MS is that people will forget if you slip the release date a few weeks or months. But they'll never forget if you release a crappy product.
Rather than ridicule you should applaud us for having the guts to hold the product until it's ready. Trust me it's not a fun or easy conversation to have. After all when you make the decision to deploy SQL Server you want to have confidence in your decision. We know your reputation and in some cases your job or company is on the line.
So be different. Stand up and appluad us for doing the right thing for our customers. That will get you a lot more attention than taking the easy route of poking fun at us!